Bad Jeans

I hate jeans shopping. I would say I hate it with the fire of a thousand suns, but I don’t even have that energy for that; jeans shopping just saps my energy and my will. It’s just so defeating and seemingly pointless, because nothing ever feels right or fits right.

This helpful and hilarious post/series made me think that maaaaaybe it is possible to find well-fitting, flattering jeans. But then I remember that jeans are basically impossible. I suppose more effort would make a difference, but that would take so long and be so very frustrating. Not to mention the cost. Sigh.

And then throwing in a post-partum body to the already-maddening mix….ugh.

Here are the past four years of jeans, in illustrated vignettes:

September 2011:

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Check out these jeans. I got them at Costco, without even trying them on. Calvin Klein. Twenty-five bucks. Why not, right? They fit PERFECTLY. No gappy-gap above the butt, not too tight, pretty flattering if I do say so myself. MAGIC. I hadn’t been able to find new jeans in several *years*! I love you, Calvin!

The following week, we went to Costco again and of course I figured I should strike while the jeans iron is hot, so to speak, and get another pair of nice jeans that fit and flatter. I picked out a slightly different color and design, with flaps on the back pocket. Got home–and they fit totally differently. Gappy-gap up top, too tight in the thighs, didn’t flatter my bum. Bad job.

I went back to Costco and see if they still had the good style there for an exchange–nope. I went online and ordered what seemed to be the same style…nope, I couldn’t even get them up to my hips. I tried again from a different online store, and again no luck.

I can only come to the conclusion that these are my very own Magic Jeans, never to be replicated.

October 2012, 7 months pregnant:

After months of hiking up the Old Navy maternity jeans that kept drooping and falling down, I bit the bullet and spent a little more on Motherhood Maternity panel jeans. They fit really well and most importantly, stayed up. (Apparently this is the only photo where you can actually see them.)

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February 2013, three months post-partum:

I had a pair of jeans I got at Target sometime in early January, which are a size 12. I wasn’t jazzed about that number, but I was glad to have real (non-maternity) jeans that fit. Two weeks later they were loose. By now they’d gotten so big I could pull them off without unbuttoning them. So I was all excited to see what size I could be now.

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I’ve never had Gap jeans, but don’t people say they love them? So while I was at the mall I decided to stop in and check them out. First of all, most of their stuff was some kind of skinny jean. STOP THE SKINNY JEAN MADNESS ALREADY. Ahem. Anyway, I tried to find some ‘normal’ish styles. I picked up some 8s and they didn’t even fit over my thighs. The 10s were too tight and the 12s were a little too big. There was the gappy thing in back, but the hips were still kind of snug, and my butt didn’t look good, and the front was weird.

GAH.

I also checked out Marshalls and that was even worse.

March 2013:

Went back to Target finally, and got a new pair of jeans THAT FIT!! It felt amazing to put on pants that aren’t loose, baggy and falling down! These were a size 10.

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May 2013:

I got another new, size 8 pair in May, from Target. Felt great!

Summer 2013:

I gathered up and washed batches of my pre-pregnancy clothes to see if I’d be able to fit in any of them. My old magic jeans were in there. Our not-awesome babysitter put them in the dryer. They shrunk–got tighter and shorter, and though I could technically I could zip them, they cut right across the squishiest part of my abdomen. Obviously that’s not my ideal look. Goodbye forever, magic jeans. Nice knowing you.

March 2014:

My one pair of jeans ripped!

April 2014:

I went to Target, figuring that since my last few pairs from there have fit nicely and didn’t cost a bundle, I would easily find a new pair. Well, wouldn’t you know it, their sizing changed sometime between last spring and this spring, so no dice. I tried on a few and nothing fit right at all.

So for two weeks I was without any jeans at all. I finally went to Ross and found some that seemed to fit. They were almost loose, but when I tried the next size down, I couldn’t get them past my thighs.

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I also bought some fun new dresses in hopes of jazzing up my wardrobe and occasionally looking like a grown-up.

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The jeans did get a little looser and start to be annoying. So a few weeks later, another mama friend and I went jeans shopping, to have some fun and support. We went to a few places in the mall–Gap, Express, a short walk into Nordstrom. Nobody had just JEANS. Plain, regular jeans. Everything was skinny jeans, leggings, cropped jeans, and then more skinny jeans. It was maddening.

We also stopped by Nordstrom Rack and they had a very small selection of jeans, too. It was disappointing because I’d heard they were a good place to find good jeans. I did try on–DUN DUN DUN–skinny jeans. Against my better judgment and principles. And I…didn’t hate them. My friend said they looked good and encouraged me to get them.

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They stayed in their bag for more than a week. My little sister came to visit and she said that I should keep and wear them. 🙂 So I did. I do like that they’re stretchy. But I don’t love the tight lower legs–I don’t like fabric clinging to my upper ankles. It just seems unnatural or something.

June 2014:

I was visiting New York and stopped in at the Gap Outlet on Fulton Street. (I know, right? Gentrification is for real.) I found a pair of jeans that mostly fit–they cut into my squishy tummy, but they were non-skinny jeans, and they were mid-rise too!–for only $17. Later that summer I dropped like two pounds and these jeans fit pretty nicely. (And when they cut into my tummy, I can keep a shirt or sweater over the muffin top. :D)

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July 2014

I went on a mission to find shorts. Like, shorts for grown-up ladies–not teeny tiny teenagers, and not wise old dowagers, just, like, regular freaking shorts that you don’t need a Brazilian to wear. These apparently do not exist.

I went to the local Ross and tried on all the shorts-related things I could find in my size (which has gone back up to 10).

These were shorter than I wanted but at least they weren’t super tight, so they seemed okay.

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I was surprised but I thought these skinny jean capris were really cute! I wore them all summer and fall, and they actually got a bit baggy. I felt cute whenever I wore them, though.

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October 2014, nearly TWO YEARS post-partum:

I visited the Ann Taylor Loft at the local outlets and TA-DA found jeans that FIT! They were the Curvy style, size 8 (hello vanity sizing), but I was really excited. Jeans that fit!!!

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So for the last few months, I’ve finally had three different pairs of jeans that fit! It only took months and months, multiple stores, and endless irritation. Lessons learned: I still hate clothes shopping; boot-cut jeans are still the best kind; next time I need jeans I’ll start at Ann Taylor/Loft. (Someday I want to try on Lucky or Seven jeans!) Also, NEVER TAKE GOOD JEANS FOR GRANTED.

Couch potato

You know, I’ve been un-pregnant for three months now. I figured my body wouldn’t hurt anymore. But somehow lately, everything kind of aches. My shoulders, my back, my hips, my calves.

Most days, I spend literally 19 hours a day sitting on the couch. I also tend to hunch over when I’m at the sink or changing table (though I finally got some risers to get the table higher, and that was a big help), and when I’m on the laptop my shoulders tense and hunch upwards. Honestly, for the past few weeks, it feels like the entire day is uncomfortable somehow. And now that I’ve started to notice it, it’s worse because I don’t know how to fix it or prevent it.

Every so often I’ll notice my shoulders and try to un-tense them. When I try to relax, though, I think I tense my lower back. Also, the tension creeps back within seconds or never un-tensed in the first place. At this very moment I’m typing around the pump, as I so often do nowadays, and that makes the shoulder tensing worse, because my elbows are forced outward a bit, so the position is unnatural and my shoulders and back seem to be over-compensating. In other words, it kind of hurts just to sit here sometimes.

A couple days a week, I go out for a walk for 30-40 minutes, which I think has helped melt off some pounds and inches, but doesn’t seem to do much to undo the muscle fatigue. (Muscle ‘fatigue’ of sitting on my ass all day? Get a grip. I don’t know what else to call it, though. Laziness ache? Couch potato syndrome?) I’ve been trying to stretch a bit while I’m moving around the house–lunges to stretch my atrophying hip flexors and calves, forward bends to relax my lower back. Those brief stretches feel good, but it still isn’t enough. Neither is walking. It’s like I need to do the physical opposite of sitting to undo the damage. I don’t mean standing, I mean the angles need to swap. Instead of sitting in a 90 degree angle, I need to stretch to a 270 degree angle! Haha, can you imagine!

I’m starting to wonder if lying down in bed more would help. I’m still only getting about five hours of sleep, which is also not helping because I am so tired. But lying straight instead of sitting up is probably less stressful on my body. I certainly don’t hunch my shoulders when I’m sleeping! Doctor Self, I’m prescribing ten hours of sleep a night to combat your aches! Along with weekly massages and jacuzzi baths!

One major problem: there’s no end in sight for the sitting. I’m still pumping five times a day for 30-50 minutes. On the couch. Often that doesn’t overlap with feeding the babies. Can’t exactly do that on-the-go, so on-the-couch I am. This week I’m starting some work from home again, and you can guess where I’ll be stationed!

I do have some yoga-ish dvds that I think would feel really good. It’s just a matter of finding time and space to do that during the day. Not as easy as it might sound, unfortunately.

I hope I can find some solution that works, so my body will start feeling good again. Or at least stop feeling so uncomfortable.

The Recovery

Today marks two weeks post-baby, and there are still lots of changes going on body-wise.

Almost all of the PUPPS rash has faded and now the scratch scabs are finally healing. So glad that I don’t look like a leper anymore.

My feet started swelling this summer. Certainly by mid-August they were puffy pregnancy feet. Over the last month, they got even puffier. Imagine my delight in noticing last week that my toes look like toes again (instead of sausages), and the thickness of my feet is now back to normal. Plus, no more cankles! Phew. Now I just need to get some long-overdue new (comfortable) shoes.

My hands also swelled; I had to take my rings off in July. I’ve tried them on this week and they don’t fit over the knuckles yet. I hope that ‘fixes’; I hate having naked hands and I miss my pretty rings! My hands look fairly normal again, at least.

Then of course there’s my face. Oh, face, you cause me so much trouble. In the late summer I noticed that my face was somehow fuller, and then a double chin developed in the fall. I am happy to note that two weeks after babies, the double chin is gone, and my face looks ‘normal’. I’m really happy to look like myself again!

Here’s my round-faced drivers license photo from October:

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And tonight (with a baby on my chest):

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My final weigh-in the day before delivery was 216 pounds–around 66 pounds gained. I visited the doctor the following Monday, 5 days post-baby, and weighed 189. Today at my two-week follow-up appointment, I weighed in at 178. Wow–almost forty pounds gone already!

I’m not super stressed about weight, but I was/am interested in seeing how it all works for me. I’m surprised how quickly my belly seems to be going down. I thought it would be a lot slower, actually. I don’t really look pregnant anymore, just kind of thick around the middle. I won’t expect weight to drop dramatically, but will try to manage my expectations in a healthy manner.

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It’s kind of amazing, but not surprising I guess, how soft my belly is. It’s soft, and squishy, in a way I’ve never felt before. Last week it was a little bit numb, which felt like a very deflated nerf ball was attached to my abdomen. My belly button is still an outie; I wonder if it will stay that way or return to innie.

My incision is still sore and irritated. I heard that by the two-week mark I should feel a lot better. And it is better than the first week, but it’s still quite painful at times, especially at night getting up out of bed so often (to attend a baby or two). I am really, really ready to be pain-free. My doctor today gave me another prescription for the painkillers I was taking at the hospital and only sporadically taking at home. I don’t like taking medicine/pills, and the pain isn’t extreme, but I think I’m ready to accept that I still need the help. It’s been months since I’ve been fully, comfortably mobile, and I know I’ll have to take it easy, but I do want to be a little more active.

I will look forward to getting out and about with the babies. We’ve taken our stroller out for a couple times and are happy at how easy it is. I hope that next week I’ll be ready and able to take short walks around the neighborhood, or even go to a park to walk around.

In general, I guess things are going pretty good. I guess I can’t expect to bounce back super quickly physically, after not just pregnancy but a major surgery. I should probably keep a positive attitude and be aware of progress.

My husband continues to be very supportive and helpful, and though I’m able to do more than I was two weeks ago, there’s still a lot I need help with. I continue to be so thankful for him. And also for our cute babies:

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